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Billy Joe Saunders given 6 month suspension by WBO

Billy Joe Saunders Oxilofrine WBO

By Mike Smith: Former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has been suspended by the World Boxing Organization for six months after having tested positive for the banned drug oxilofrine.

If Saunders’ six-month suspension retroactive from the date that he tested positive for the banned drug last August, then his suspension could expire in February. Saul Canelo Alvarez’s recent six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission was retroactive from the date that he tested positive for clenbuterol earlier this year in February.

Saunders was supposed to defend his WBO title against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade last month on October 20 on DAZN at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. Saunders vacated his WBO title after his positive test by VADA was revealed.

Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) failed a VADA test in testing positive for the banned drug oxilofrine. The 29-year-old Saunders’ suspension will be for six months. He won’t be ranked by the WBO until three months after his suspension ends.

Andrade’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he’ll offer Saunders a title shot against him, but that’s not going to happen until next year at the earliest. Saunders has a lot of options for interesting fights. Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), Jack Culcay or Maciej Sulecki would be good choices for Saunders to face when he comes back. However, it’ll be up to his promoter who he faces, and it’s highly unlikely that any of those three fighters. Saunders will likely be put in with someone that he can beat with 100 percent surety.

Charlo, Culcay and Sulecki are too talented for it to be a sure thing win for Saunders, so they likely won’t be considered. Since it’s clear that Hearn is going to give Saunders a free title shot against Andrade, 30, without him having to work for the title shot. It would be in Andrade’s best interest to fight a good opponent to redeem himself in the eyes of the boxing public, but it’s not necessary. He can fight whoever he wishes and likely still get a title shot against Andrade.

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It’s Saunders’ best interest to go after his old WBO belt against Andrade then it would for him to fight WBA/WBC champion Saul Canelo Alvarez or IBF belt holder Daniel Jacobs. However, there’s a lot more money available for Saunders if he faces Canelo. If Saunders can get the Canelo fight, there’s a lot of money to be made. Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy might not like the idea of putting him in against a defensive fighter like Saunders.

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